5 For those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit. 6 Now the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit to God’s law. Indeed, it is unable to do so. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
I still remember the bright colored room all those years ago. Parents were crammed into small chairs that brought our knees up to our chests. Soft laughter and warm greetings hung in the air as we waited for orientation to begin. When our church preschool director came forward to the podium, a hush fell around the room.
She began every preschool orientation with the same speech. Parents actually counted it as a rite of passage. Many year later her words would be engraved on the wall as a reminder when you entered the building. She said, “Parents, as you begin this journey of education for your child, I want you to take your role as Gospel carriers very seriously. You have one job, and that is not to prepare the path for your child, but instead to prepare your child for the path.”
These words ring true for us as we follow after Christ. In Romans 8, Paul begins with the greatest privilege of true Christians, and then describes the character of those to whom this privilege belongs. Our triumph is that we are not condemned. This is an unspeakable privilege and comfort to all of us who belong in Christ.
However, Christ did not say we were not guilty or that no accusation was brought against us. In fact there is great guilt, and we must see it, own it, and mourn over it. But it will not be our ruin. There is no condemnation because we now take part in the sanctification that Christ by dying made into law. Because of Christ, God not only releases us from condemnation, He is also well pleased with us.
For those of us who are in Christ, our character is thus defined by our freedom from condemnation and by the path we intentionally choose. We will walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Our character is developed and proven, not by one single act, but by the path we choose each day.
The great question is this: are you adjusting the path to meet your desires, or are you, through Christ, seeking the path laid out by His Spirit? Are your decisions concerning your time and your resources guided by your personal preferences, or are they ruled by His kingdom priorities?
The preschool director had our end victory in mind when she coached young parents in an important season. We can take her words and apply them to ourselves each day. We have one job, and that is not to prepare the path for ourselves, but instead to prepare ourselves for the path of the Spirit.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- How can you refocus your sensitivity to the Spirit’s direction this week?
- How important is pleasing God in small acts of obedience?
- What can you change in your schedule to make time to listen to what God is calling you to do?
Pray for resources, opportunity, and perseverance for our global workers to continue their education, equipping and training to better open doors for the gospel in their contexts. We currently have global workers pursuing degrees in seminary studies, midwifery, and art therapy, in addition to learning language(s). See our church family’s global workers here: https://brentwood.church/missions/global-workers/